In what appears to be the first such legislation in the nation, a Missouri lawmaker has introduced a measure to shield children from being exposed to “age-inappropriate material” at public libraries that receive state funding.
The proposed bill, according to a report in the Kansas City Star, “was drafted in reaction to drag queen story hours being held across the state.” The report went on to say that public libraries that violate the provision by displaying such literature “could lose state funding and even see their librarians fined or jailed.”
The proposed bill – “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act” – “did not target books,” said state Rep. Ben Baker, who sponsored the bill.
Baker, a Republican from Neosho in southwest Missouri, told the Star, “In some places – St. Louis, Kansas City and I think St. (Joseph) – they’ve had these drag queen story hours and that’s something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do. That’s where in a public space,” he said, “our kids could be exposed to something that’s age-inappropriate. That’s what I’m trying to tackle.”
The dragqueenstoryhour.org website describes the events, which are organized by independent local groups across the nation and in some foreign countries, as “just what it sounds like – drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where…